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How many bowls to "break in" a pipe?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by WrightwoodJohn, Nov 6, 2011.

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  1. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    How many bowls would you say it takes before a pipe is "broken in"? Sorry if there is a thread out there some where, but I'm looking for a flat number, including 1/2 bowls etc. I'm going to say 10, what number would you say?
     
  2. user1975

    user1975 Active Member

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    I think it would depend on several factors, like the size of the bowl, and what your kind of blend you're smoking. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say around 10-12 bowls though. YMMV.
     
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  3. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    Thanks Mark, about a group 5 on the Dunhill scale..
     
  4. Mike Pomery

    Mike Pomery Active Member

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    It really depends on the pipe. Things like bowl size, briar density etc will all have an effect. Could be 10, could be 20...
     
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  5. homebrewer

    homebrewer Member

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    So about how many bowls till one gets this so called "cake" I keep hearing about
     
  6. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    Guess so, they are italian briars with size being about the same as a group 5 Dunhill. Pretty thick bowls. I was curious as to what numbers you guys would think.....thanks!
     
  7. Mike Pomery

    Mike Pomery Active Member

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    Cake is a slower process, as you start with 1/4 -1/3 full bowls and smoke around 10 of them, or until you are happy with the beginnings of a well shaped cake, then move on the half bowls, then 2/3 bowls, then full bowls say about 10 each as an average. Takes a while, but some people break their pipes in with full bowls, usually the pipes with a pre-coating like a Peterson, and then start building a cake the slow way if it looks like that would be needed.
     
  8. Jussto

    Jussto Active Member

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    Sorry to play Devil's advocate here, but I think of "breaking in" as just part of conditioning and maintaining a pipe, a process that will go on from the first bowl to the last. Sure I start out with a few half bowls. How many? Usually until I forget to do it, or I get ready for a whole bowl, whichever comes first. From then on, it's building cake, maintaining cake, reaming to remove cake, cleaning the shank occasionally, etc... I know most of mine must be "broken in" by now, but I also have estates that I am working on getting to how I like to smoke them. I also have a Pete that I considered fully vested after just about 5 or 6 bowls of PA. I'm pretty sure each pipe is different, just like each smoker.

    I'd say a pipe is broken in when you grab it, stuff it and light it without thinking about it and enjoy the smoke. You two know each other by then.:puffy:
     
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  9. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    I've had some pipes that smoked stellar right away and didnt get better cause they couldnt . Others seem to take a while before it seemed like they " opened up " ... I wouldnt know the number of bowls but I would imagine over 20 . I've had a few that poped real quick . Wiley pipes seem to pop and color real quick .. 10 bowls . I imagine it has to do w/ his oil curing .
     
    Mark w4mms likes this.
  10. TxPipesmoker

    TxPipesmoker Active Member

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    This thread reminds me of that owl trying to see how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.
     
    HCraven, Mington, Jussto and 3 others like this.
  11. user1975

    user1975 Active Member

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    :laff:
     
  12. IrishRover

    IrishRover Active Member

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    :xd:
    uh one, uh two, uh CRUNCH!
     
  13. Smoker99

    Smoker99 Active Member

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    To me, the breaking in time is all about the quality of the briar. By quality, I mean mostly how, and how long it was cured. This can also be correlated to maker. For some reason, Dunhills require a much longer break in than a lot of other pipes, at least to me. Castellos are a fast break in to me. Semantics may be in play here too. I call a pipe broken in when it reaches it's near peak performance, not just when the harshness goes away. To put numbers on it, for me, a Dunhill requires about 35-40 bowls to really mellow out. A Castello does the same in about 15-20. Just my 2¢.
     
  14. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    That's interesting thanks..
     
  15. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    What matters regardless of maker/quality of briar/drilling is whether you're smoking to the bottom. IMO, if th bottom isn't caked, it's not broken or even near. Puffs 2 Puffs

    Ed
    Puff
     
  16. CMAsailor

    CMAsailor Active Member

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    so how would you go about making sure you smoke to the bottom everytime? more half bowl sessions ? I rarely get to the bottom of the bowl, I'd say the top 3/4 of all my pipes has light or atleast the beginnings of cake, and the bottom just looks ... for lack of a proper term... resinated? shiney but black, and not what I would call cake... If I smoke to fast with a blend, the next session of smokign with the same pipe seems to have lost it's seasoning and smokes like it's in need of a breaking in again...
    I'm new, so more tips on breaking it in properly are welcome.

    I find that the only pipes I've figured out how to break in are cobs, and that takes me between 5-10 bowls depending on the blend or blends I dedicate the pipe to
     
  17. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    You should always smoke to the bottom to properly break in a pipe.
     
  18. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    Exactly what came to mind when I read this the first time. :toast:

    I'm a little remiss about breaking my pipes in, to be honest. Yeah, I'll smoke some half bowls (usually Virginia), but after about 3-4 of those, I get impatient and just want to sit down and commune with the thing in all it's glory. While it's hard to say exactly when they start firing on all cylinders, all of my pipes seem to continue to improve with age, and I haven't burned one out or cracked one in twenty years of smoking them, so I figure I'm doing something right.
     
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  19. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    As always some great responses. You might not have as much fun if it wasn't for us newbies asking such challenging & profound questions!:puffy:
     
  20. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Get a meer and clean out the shank with Everclear before you smoke it. Blow out any excess meerschaum dust. Fire up. Unless the carver got wax inside the bowl or shank, the number of bowls required for break in is a big, fat zero. :D
     
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